Thursday, August 14, 2014

Social Networks, Entertainment or Business Activity?

Today world is full of Social Networks; it is incredible how the Y and C generations are so dependent and addicted to their social networks, it has transformed the marketing industry and the way companies reach new segments.

It’s important to understand that social networks born with the purpose of maintain contact with friends and as entertainment. Facebook was definitely the first network that really had a big impact in the whole world, even though it was not the first social network in the market.

Soon, companies realize the potential of social media to reach big masses with their advertisements and that’s when the activity of Social Networks started to look profitable for organizations.

Here is where I come to the picture; my family operates it’s own business in Mexico and few years ago we started to wonder how can we take advantage of Social Networks.

My family business is a 25-year-old company dedicated to the distribution of stationery and office products in all the country (similar to Staples). Obviously we do not posses unlimited resources, time and access to information, but we still want to create a competitive advantage using all the channels we have at our disposal.

The challenge is how to increase our market share and build better and stronger relationships with our current customers using social media.

In order to start developing a marketing strategy we need to acquire data about our most profitable and loyal customers, and the most potential buyers that we would like to attract, we would need to know where they buy, how large are their budgets for the products that we offer, what are the things that they value the most (price, on time delivery, quality, etc.), all these information is not so easy to get, however, through social networks analysis we could identify the connections of our potential customers and use our network to reach them.

The most important measure that we would need is to find a connection between our company and the buyer of the companies that we want to reach, finding these persons it’s not so easy because sometimes there are confidentiality clauses that other companies cannot break, but once we could have contact with these buyers we could start to build relationships and hopefully start doing business to increase our customer portfolio.

The Social Network Analysis will definitely play an important role in accomplish this challenge we had set up, through this analysis we would be able to identify key persons and companies, we would be able to receive customer feedback and complaints more directly and faster from our customers in order to fix or areas of improvement, and we would be able to retain our customers now that competitions is so strong in our industry.

Ricardo Contreras Tinoco